Q & A with Ted
Learn more about Ted's thoughts on key concerns facing the Waunakee Community School District. Check back often for updates and more questions and answers from Ted.
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What will be your top priorities as a school board member?
My experience of being on a board includes being elected and serving on the parish council for my church. My experience with education is a combination of teaching 4th grade religion class and, along with my wife, raising our four incredible kids.
At each level of interaction with Waunakee schools we have worked with outstanding teachers, coaches, and staff. Many have contributed to the success of our kids and created life-long memories and hopefully relationships. We are proud to be members of the Waunakee community and its great school district.
I have seen the importance of being involved in your own child’s development and I am running for Waunakee School Board to bring that same advocacy for all students and their parents in their educational journey.
My priorities include:
- Advocating for students
- Representing families
- Ensuring traditional education value, while adapting to challenges of today
- Promoting and ensuring a safe and respectful student body and staff
How is WCSD doing in addressing the challenges of the pandemic?
WCSD has done a good job in identifying the challenges of the pandemic and ramping up the resources to deal with it. The administration, teachers and staff have spent a great deal of time creating plans to carry out education under various scenarios. The administration has regularly solicited input and, in general, we've seen more community involvement as a result of this situation.
Mental Health has been a difficult issue through all of this and is truly difficult to measure. Many schools around us have proven that schools can be fully open in a safe manner while still providing a virtual option for those that prefer it. I would have hoped our district could have done the same by now in order to get our kids back in school and provide a choice for families..
What should WCSD do to ensure a respectful environment for all students and staff?
Respect needs to translate to both online and in-person education. In regards to online education, the technology needs to be in place to make it happen so that it isn't a hinderance in the learning process. Clear expectations and rules need to be established and consequences for not following need to be enforced.
The same holds true for in-person learning. For example, all students need to understand that there are consequences for disrespectful behavior and, as a district, we need to follow through with these consequences. Respect for authority is a must and it should be made clear.
I say this based on my own reaction to incidents that were brought to my attention. It naturally made me think way back to when I was in school. I don’t recall having a School Resource Officer (SRO). There wasn’t a need for one, at least that I knew of. There was respect for the people in charge. That respect probably largely came from a sense of fear. The thought of being called to the principal’s office and the consequences of breaking some rule that further required contacting one’s parents and loosing freedom to do … you fill in the blank. Does that still exist today? To the same extent?
Times are different for all kinds of reasons. It doesn’t change the fact that you need to have discipline in order to have a classroom that is free from disruption, which ultimately interferes with a student’s education. Fear doesn’t need nor should it be the reason for keeping students in line. Discipline can be achieved from a variety of things like parent involvement or establishing solid student/teacher relationships in order to earn respect and trust. From my personal experiences with our children and Waunakee schools, I know that these two things worked well for us.
My comments don't mean that this is necessarily lacking in our school district. It does however indicate what I feel is important. If discipline is lacking or slacks off, misbehavior will likely increase. The more that happens, the harder it will be to get under control and manage.